IndyCar: Helio, RHR, Pagenaud, Carpenter take part in tire test at IMS

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The first big domino in IndyCar’s Silly Season for 2014 may finally be about ready to topple over.

Simon Pagenaud has been at the center of rumors about departing his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team to find a new home among the series’ “Big 3” teams.

During today’s Firestone tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the fast Frenchman confirmed that he’s made his choice for 2015.

According to Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star, Pagenaud wouldn’t say which team would acquire his talents – only mentioning that “[the contract] is not fully done yet.”

Meanwhile, as Pagenaud bides his time, SPM is set to test several drivers next week on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course; Cavin reports that they’re Rodolfo Gonzales, Rocky Moran Jr., and another to be announced later.

But for today, the main focus at the Brickyard was the test, which also featured Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, Helio Castroneves of Team Penske (pictured), and Ed Carpenter of CFH Racing, the newly merged entity of his team and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.

Naturally, with Hunter-Reay and Castroneves having duked it out this past May for victory in the Indianapolis 500, conversation turned toward their incredible battle that Hunter-Reay won.

“When you watch from outside the car, yeah, that was maybe marginal,” Hunter-Reay told about his electrifying duel with the Brazilian. “But when you’re going for the win at the Indy 500, you’ll do anything. That’s what was driving me. I was going wherever I could get the car.”

Hunter-Reay denied Castroneves what would have been his record-tying fourth ‘500’ win. But whereas Castroneves was visibly deflated in May, he seems to be at peace now.

“The only way to stop Ryan would have been to do something that I wouldn’t have been able to sleep with at night,” he said.

As for the CFH camp, today”s test served as a chance for the Ed Carpenter Racing and Fisher/Hartman sides to work together. Carpenter’s future teammate, SFHR pilot Josef Newgarden, also appeared in the team’s pit box to support the team.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.